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Arunima Sethi

PhD Researcher
Dept. of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering


Synthesis of metal nanoparticles for plasmonically enhanced luminescent devices for solar cells application

Keywords: plasmonic coupling; luminescent solar concentrators; metal nanoparticles; luminescent down shifting layers.

Buildings play a significant role in the global energy balance. Typically they account for 20-30% of the total primary energy requirement of industrialized countries, 40% in the EU. Applying photovoltaic (PV) panels to buildings is an important application for wider PV deployment and to achieving our 20% Renewable Energy EU target by 2020. With the proposed research, a disruptive PV technology is described where record increases in efficiency are achieved and costs reduced. In Europe about 50% of the solar radiation is diffuse.

This research project will concentrate both direct and diffuse solar radiation in a static building component delivering not only breakthroughs in solar device efficiencies but also the development of unique building integrated components.

Plasmonic coupling between luminescent species (i.e. quantum dots, organic dyes), and metal nanoparticles (MNPs) are to be investigated for their application to concentrate the solar radiation with a plasmonically enhanced luminescent solar concentrator (PLSC) and to down shift the short wavelengths light where the PV cells are most efficient with plasmonically enhanced luminescent downshifting thin-films (PLDS).


The main objectives of this project are:

  • To synthesis MNPs, mainly gold and silver nanoparticles.
  • To fabricate composites structures (luminescent species and MNPs in polymer) for PLSC and PLDS.
  • To determine, validate, and maximize manipulation of the optical properties of luminescent species through modifying the localized electrical boundary condition by exploiting the Plasmonic field.
  • To achieve record efficiency in a Luminescent Solar Concentrator by exploiting plasmonic coupling phenomena, to enhance emission and alignment of MNPs for directional emission.
  • To achieve record efficiencies using Luminescent Downshifting Layers to generate more power from a matched solar cell by exploiting plasmonic coupling phenomena, converting solar radiation outside the bandgap of the cell to within its absorption band, along with alignment of MNPs to achieve directional emission.
  • To optically characterize the plasmonically enhanced luminescent devices.
  • To fabricate the optimize prototype geometry of PLSC/PV and PLDS/PV for electrical characterization.
  • To develop a theoretical model in order to validate the experimental results and further investigate plasmonic interaction for different PV technologies.


Project Supervisor: Associate Prof. Sarah McCormack